Hyderabad FC are set to face ATK Mohun Bagan in the first leg of their Indian Super League (ISL) semi-final clash at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa, on Saturday.

Manolo Marquez’s side finished second in the league table with 38 points from 20 matches. However, they have never managed to beat the Mariners (D3 L1), and their last encounter ended in a 2-1 win for the team from Kolkata.

Meanwhile, under Juan Ferrando, ATK Mohan Bagan will look to bounce back from their defeat against Jamshedpur in the final league game of the season that cost them the ISL Shield.

Previously both the teams have faced each other four times earlier. The first three matches ended in a draw while ATK Mohun Bagan won the last game with a margin of 2-1.

Hyderabad are in the midst of their most successful season in ISL. They finished third in the league stage and qualified for their maiden semi-finals, but their dominance was there for all to see. Manolo Marquez’s men won 11 of their 20 games and were in pole position to win the League Shield but for Jamshedpur, who thrashed them 3-0 in a crucial match towards the end of the league stages.

For ATKMB, the likes of Liston Colaco and Manvir Singh have been brilliant throughout the season, scoring 14 goals between them. Roy Krishna also found his scoring boots in a 1-0 win over Chennaiyin FC, and along with David Williams, the duo have a deadly record in the knockout stages. Williams has scored five goals and provided one assist in the knockout stages for the last two seasons, while Krishna is the joint-highest assist provider with five assists and one goal to his name in six appearances in semis and finals.

Both managers were optimistic during the match press conference. For Hyderabad FC, some players were absent in the previous matches due to COVID. “We are recovering, preparing, and in terms of physical condition, we will have to wait till the last moment to see how the players are. We are ready to play a very strong side,” Marquez said.

“We are playing a very good team. They have a great squad. Hyderabad, after 20 games, will want to enjoy the playoffs and this is the reason they are a difficult team to beat. They have been brilliant this season and it has been perfect for them,” Ferrando said.

Possible XI:

ATK Mohun Bagan (4-2-3-1): Amrinder Singh (GK); Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Tiri, Subashish Bose; Carl McHugh, Lenny Rodrigues; Manvir Singh, Joni Kauko, Liston Colaco; Roy Krishna

Hyderabad FC (4-2-3-1): Laxmikant Kattimani (GK); Ashish Rai, Chinglensana Singh, Juanan, Akash Mishra; Joao Victor, Souvik Chakrabarty; Nikhil Poojary, Joel Chianese, Aniket Jadhav; Bartholomew Ogbeche